Letter: Disease and demagogues
This letter is regarding Brodie Farquhar’s recent letter to the editor, “Get ready for the coronavirus.”
It is disappointing, but not surprising, to hear that the sky is falling once again, due principally to “Trump/Pence.” For example, “Budgets have been cut and key personnel cut where it is most relevant.” It would have been interesting had the author cited some relevant details, but perhaps he regards that sort of specificity as beyond the understanding of the masses.
Meanwhile, the New York Times — hardly in the administration’s corner — ran the following story on Wednesday, Feb. 26, “AP FACT CHECK: Democrats Distort Coronavirus Readiness.” The article quotes a pair of presidential hopefuls excoriating Donald Trump for “defunding” and “wiping out” appropriations for the Centers for Disease Control — allegations the AP addresses with the truth: “They’re both wrong … Trump’s budgets have proposed cuts to public health, only to be overruled by Congress, where there’s strong bipartisan support for agencies such as the CDC and NIH. Instead, financing has increased.”
John Auerbach, president of the nonpartisan Trust for American Health, lauds American response to the outbreak as “excellent.” That is likely due to the infrastructures installed to deal with threats like the coronavirus “…regardless of who’s president or whether specific instructions are coming from the White House. Those plans were put into place in anticipation of another flu pandemic, but are designed to work for any respiratory-borne disease.”
Fiscal policy and funding priorities are always legitimate topics during any election cycle. But when demagogues choose to conflate crises with half-truths and outright falsehoods to score political points, it can only be regarded as sophistry at best and malfeasance at worst.
Those considerations appear immaterial when following the law of Rahm Emanuel: never let a good crisis go to waste. In other words, the truth is a virus and should never be allowed to infect one’s dogma.
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